Friday, March 21, 2008

Software Update

It's been two weeks since we fired up our new software system, and I thought I would give everyone a little update on how things are going. We've had lots of public comment about the new catalog, both positive and negative, and I want to let you know that we do keep track of issues as they pop up. There are still things that need to be tweaked with the system, and we are tackling them in order of operational priority (library triage!).
I would imagine everyone reading this has learned to use new software at some point in their lives (the pre-Windows XP days), and you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Operating the new system is pretty easy (click here, type this here, etc.). The part that we have been working away at is the database end. Our old UNIX system did not translate very smoothly into this new Unicorn product, and we're still trying to get our new database to recognize and work with all the old data. Think of it as trying to open all your old Windows files on an Apple computer. Ouch!
And to make things doubly difficult, we are actually talking about two sets of data: all the information about the items in the library collection (bibliographic data), and all the information about our library users (patron data). For example, patrons who had lost books during the last few years (and paid for them!) will find that those books have magically re-appeared on their account, and the new system is charging them overdue fines. Obviously, this issue is on the top of our triage list and will be corrected.
The take-home message here is that we are still flogging the new system into shape and you may encounter some oddities. Please feel free to mention to us if you think there is something unusual, as it may be an issue we don't already have on our list. Once again, I would like to thank everyone for being so gentle with us these last two weeks. By 2010, everything will be running smoothly, I promise!

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